July 30

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From acronyms to nomads

WHO RED EPI? No,  its not a misspelling,  questioning who has read the latest best seller; these are just some of the myriad of acronyms which have surfaced daily during the last month as I have started on the exciting journey which is my PULSE assignment with Save the Children. Acronyms are used freely within the immunisation world and also in Save the Children’s day to day work  and processes (just like at GSK!).

I will be supporting a project in Eastern Ethiopia aimed at raising the immunisation rate amongst infants. While Ethiopia has worked very successfully on the Millennium Development Goals, greatly reducing over fives mortality and increasing country level routine immunisation, there is still important work to be done in areas with hard to reach populations, such as those with nomadic lifestyles, herding camels, donkeys and shoats (definitely a photo opportunity when I go on my first field trip). This can be a surprisingly large number of people, and as birth rates are high; that means a lot of infants! Only about a third of this group are currently receiving their full immunisations.

I am based in the UK and no date yet for my first field trip, but in the meantime a lot of reading about immunisation, nomadic lifestyles and the Ethiopian Health system. Seeing things on the ground though,  will bring much greater clarity, and help determine whether the draft tools I have developed to support the initial immunisation review, will be likely to work.

I am part of the Health Team working on Global Development Programmes, and its great to be part of such a multi-cultural team. My manager even speaks the local language which will make things much easier for the field trips. Expect a few words of greeting from me in the same, before I go.

On the UK front, commuting into central London has been an ‘interesting’ experience….. Was the chaos on the transport system under heavy rain and local flooding just to be expected, or was it reminding me that the recent severe drought in Ethiopia is breaking with the coming of the rains….?

Next Blog when the field trip starts to become a reality! (Maybe by then, I will have learned how to add pictures correctly to Blogs, though at least its one step up from my first Blog which had no picture).

Image taken by [http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlesfred/ Charles Fred] on flickr. The creator has granted GFDL licensing and permission for use